Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

My adult children are pushing me to have a hip replacement. I don't really want to have surgery. I think I can put up with the pain. But the kids are worried that I'm not active enough. Would a new hip really make that much difference? Doesn't having surgery cause pain, too?

Answer:

Pain can be a big stumbling block to activity and quality of life. Hip replacements have become very common and very successful. Patients are able to perform daily activities, sleep better, and get around better. The implants and techniques for putting them in have improved so they last longer with fewer problems. Relieving pain improves physical function and activity level. This is important in promoting general health and preventing specific diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The positive benefit of movement and activity on bone structure is very important for the older adult. Good bone health helps prevent fractures and falls, which can cause serious disability and even death. You may want to just make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and find out what are your options. Knowledge and understanding of the process and expectations can help calm your anxious thoughts. Then you'll be making a decision based on facts, not fears. You can expect a period of some postoperative pain during recovery. The postoperative plan provides medications to help with the pain. The physical therapist will help you get up and get moving. That always helps alleviate pain and aching from stiffness. Most patients report the postoperative pain is different from the joint pain they had before surgery. They say the new pain is much more tolerable and goes away with time and exercise. Robert Wagenmakers, MD, et al. Habitual Physical Activity Behavior of Patients After Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty. In Physical Therapy Journal. September 2008. Vol. 88. No. 9. Pp. 1039-1048.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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